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Saturday, 8 September 2018

Udaipur Journals, Part 2!


Hello Readers & Wanderlust souls! In this post, I'm going to cover my Day 2 shenanigans in the beautiful city of Udaipur! There are also some places that you must visit which I have not covered, but you might want to! So, here we go again!
On Day 2, I visited Ahar Cenotaphs, Jagdish temple, Lake Pichola & Dudh Talai lake.

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~~ Ahar Cenotaphs ~~
          First stop was at Ahar Cenotaphs for the day. I had seen a lot of photos on Pinterest & Instagram about this place. It's a bit out of the city & attracts fewer people than other places. It is basically a royal graveyard. If the photos had not convinced me to go there, this fact sure as hell did! There are about 250 cenotaphs of the Maharajas of Mewar built over 350 years. When I went, there were few people there & I was glad. This is kind of what the place looks like:




Another highlight of the trip!



The place is not that well maintained as you can notice. Only the one cenotaph which is of Maharaja Sangram Singh is kept really well. It attracts the most tourists to have a beautiful and mystique photo shoot! I gave it a shot & was very pleased with myself!
Here are some more places from the place-





Some Useful Info:
Timings: There isn't any specific timing to visit the Cenotaphs, but to visit Ahar Museum, you can go from 10 AM to 4.30 PM
How far away: 30 minutes away from the Old City

~~ Jagdish Temple ~~

         I had walked around Jagdish temple numerous times as it was in close vicinity to my hotel. Only this time, I went inside to give a proper visit. There was aarti going on when I went. The idols are beautifully decorated & prayed to. The architecture of the temple is beautifully detailed. There is no limit of the number of photos you can click! Here are some of the good ones.







If you go towards the right lane from Jagdish temple, there are some shops. I did all my shopping from a little shop there. I don’t exactly remember the name, but the entire lane is pretty good. You can buy jewellery, leather bags, leather bound diaries! It’s a perfect little street to buy your souvenirs.
Some Useful Info:
Timings: 5 AM to 2.30 PM & 4 PM to 10 PM
How far away: 5 minutes away from the Old City

~~ Lake Pichola & Dudh Talai Lake ~~

          I hated that I couldn't go to Lake Pichola the day before, so I decided to go on Day 2 as I was already a bit ahead of schedule. It's not ideal to go to Lake Pichola in the morning or afternoon hours. So, as I mentioned in the earlier post, just go to for boating from City Palace itself. Here are a few photos of Lake Pichola.




Dudh Talai Lake or Pond is truly beautiful. Here are a few photos!



Some Useful Info:
Timings: Boating timings at Lake Pichola, 9 AM to 6 PM
How far away: 5 minutes away from Old City
Rates: Boat rides till 3 PM, Rs. 400 || Boat rides after 3 PM / sunset boat rides, Rs. 700

I could cover only these 3 places plus a shopping spree that day as I had to catch my flight. There were few other places that you can visit!

~~ Bagore ki Haveli ~~

Bagore ki Haveli is a very famous tourist stop in Udaipur. It is known for its cultural shows, folk dances & the like. It isn’t exactly my cup of tea, so I skipped it. But, if you like local entertainment, then you should visit these shows.

Some Useful Info:
Timings: 9.30 AM to 5.30 PM || Cultural show is from 7PM to 8PM.
How far away: 10 minutes away from Old City
Rates: Entry charges are Rs. 60 plus camera charges.

~~ Mansapurna Karni Mata Ropeway ~~

The entrance to Karni Mata temple is at the foot of the Dudh Talai lake. There’s a ropeway up to the temple. It is the topmost point from where you can view the entire city, quite like Monsoon Palace. It is also a good sunset point.

Some Useful Info:
Timings: 9 AM to 7 PM
How far away: 10 minutes away from Old City
Rates: For ropeway, Rs. 100
~~ Saheliyo ki Bari ~~

Saheliyon ki bari is a major garden in Udaipur. Built by Rana Sangram Singh, the place is a beautiful spot for photography with gardens, fountains & beautiful architecture. For me, the place did not have an x factor, which is why I didn’t go there.

Some Useful Info:
Timings: 9 AM to 7 PM
How far away: 15 minutes away from Old City
Rates: Rs. 5

~~ Other Places ~~

Okay, so the more I am writing about the places I did not visit, the more I am feeling that I should have. So, let me briefly tell you about some more places.
As Udaipur is known as the City of Lakes, you can also visit Badi lake.  Then, you can go to Ambrai Ghat as well. If you must fulfil the true tourist satisfaction, then you should visit the ‘I Love Udaipur’ Sign which is situated near Lake Pichola. There is also the quite famous Kumbhalgarh Fort, which is a 2.5 hours drive from Old City.

~~ Restaurants to check out ~~

I had done some research on restaurants as well. Although, of course, I couldn’t go to all the places.
For authentic Rajasthani food, you can check out Millets of Mewar, Palki Khana.
For snacks or continental food, you can check out Café Grasswood, Jheel’s Ginger Coffee Bar, Fresh Food Café.

I hope you have enjoyed my tour of Udaipur. Hope you found some useful stuff if you are planning a trip to Udaipur yourself! Keep travelling!!

Until next time,

Sunday, 2 September 2018

Udaipur Journals, Part 1 || Celebrating 4th Blogoversary!



Hello Readers!! Today marks the 4th BLOGOVERSARY of MINDSCAPE IN WORDS!! With few postings in a few months & few breaks now & then, somehow, I have successfully completed 4 years of blogging!! And, what's better to celebrate a blogoversary if not with a travel post!? So, here goes my Udaipur trip from my diary to my blog! Hope you enjoy the tour!

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I recently had the chance to go to Udaipur for 2 to 3 days’ visit. The moment it was decided that the destination will be Udaipur, I spent a lot of time planning, scheduling & shortlisting places to visit. Of course, a beautiful city like Udaipur deserves much more than 3 days! In case you are planning to visit just Udaipur, plan a trip for at least 5 days! You can never get bored of this city, because you can find beauty & grace in every nook & corner; literally.

On the first day, I covered 3 places; the City Palace, Monsoon Palace (Sajjangarh Fort) & Fateh Sagar lake. Shall we begin?

~~ City Palace ~~

Entrance to the City Palace! 

View on the Left side after entering.

City Palace is in the centre of the Old City in Udaipur. I entered from the Tripoliya Gate which is at the northern side if you check it on Google Maps. It is closer from Jagdish temple as well. It takes about 2 hours to explore the whole place. I entered & roamed around for a bit. It was a huge place with tall towers & big structures. After entering, on the immediate left, there is a view of the city. As the palace is located a bit above the ground, the view looks really nice. There is a garden & fountains in the middle of the stretch for people to take photos. I roamed around some more. There’s a fine restaurant named Palki Khana within the palace which is quite famous. You can try that out as well. I took some rest then headed towards the museum tour! It is at the end of the palace, on the right. 







About the museum, you should make up your mind before starting the tour because it takes a lot of time to finish it. There are a lot of hallways, stairs going upwards & downwards & quite a lot of reading about the history & time spent on photography. If you hire a guide (which isn't really necessary) then it may not take too much time as they tell everything & then hurry you up. Also, there isn't an exit midway. You need to go through the entire maze up until you finish the tour. So, if you are with kids or you’re not fit or something of the kind, then you need to re-think about it. Because it sure as hell will end up with you being tired & exhausted.
With that being said, the museum tour is wonderful. There are a lot of beautiful views, detailed architectural works & splendid historical artefacts with stories around it. There is always that feeling you get of how it must have been back then, the thought about the lives of these great kings & queens & warriors, the thought of the whole grandeur & richness of the place. And you get to be where history was created & imagine thinking all these things! It’s really something I feel grateful about.
The things I loved about the tour are in those beautiful photos taken inside the museum! Do check them out on your visit. I will give City Palace a 3.5/5 stars.

Once the museum tour ends, you can go for boating from City Palace itself. This is a better option, because the tours from the palace halt at the Jagmandir Island unlike other private boating tours. And, it is a MUST to go to the Jagmandir Island. Unfortunately, I was way too tired to keep going. So, I decided to skip boating in Lake Pichola & consequentially a visit to Jagmandir Island.
If you are staying for more days, you can book one whole day to cover these 4 places:
Jagdish temple, City Palace, Lake Pichola & Jagmandir Island.

Some Useful Info:
Timings: For City Palace, 7 AM to 11 PM || For City Palace Museum, 9.30 AM to 5.30 PM
How far away: In the Old City
Rates: For City Palace, Rs. 50 || For City Palace Museum, Rs. 250


~~ Monsoon Palace / Sajjangarh Fort ~~
After the exhausting yet amazing tour of City Palace, I went back at the hotel I was staying to freshen up. Soon, I left for Monsoon Palace, which is also known as Sajjangarh Fort. It is located a little bit outside the city. You can go here by a local rickshaw which will drop you at the foot of the fort. From there, you can get on-board with their taxis which take you to the top. The frequency is about 10 minutes & as per the crowd. Personal cars & 2 wheelers are also allowed to the top after paying some charges. Also, another important thing, cameras are not allowed! I know, right? I was totally bummed out when I knew that. I had to take some photos from my phone, which, to be honest, aren't that great. Why would cameras not be allowed from a point that has the view of the entire city!?? Have a look at the LQ photos though-

Climb up to the Sajjangarh Fort

View from the top!

Finally got a decent photo of myself!!

So, once you reach the top, there is an AMAZING VIEW of the entire city! Well, that’s always a given. You may or may not like some local sightseeing places, but the ones at the top with the view are ALWAYS the ones you can count on. After all, they are worth the climb!
You can see the rich white city below with the 2 gorgeous lakes with some palaces within them & it's all just so breath-taking. You can stay here for a beautiful sunset or a sunrise & you won't be disappointed. An hour here will feel like a minute & you will still have time to wonder about all the beauty that reflects from the city onto you. I'll give Monsoon palace 4.5/5 stars.

Some Useful info:
Timings: 9.30 AM to 7 PM
How far away: 20 minutes away from Old City
Rates: Entry fee Rs. 3 || Additional for taxi


~~ Fateh Sagar Lake ~~
          I wanted to stay at the Monsoon Palace to watch the sunset, but that was hours away, so I decided to go to the next & last place for the day; Fateh Sagar lake. As I couldn't go at Lake Pichola, I made it a point to not miss out on Fateh Sagar lake. And, let me tell this to you folks right now. No matter how sunny or cloudy or cold it is, no matter how tired or exhausted you are, NO MATTER WHAT, do not miss this place! Fateh Sagar lake was the highlight of my trip. I stepped down at the Fateh Sagar Pal, which is an 800 meters long straight walk by the lake. Quite like Mumbai's Marine Drive. I think these photos will justify my words:

Start of the Fateh Sagar Pal.



That's what I'm talking about!!

I walked all the way till the end & again all the way back. To tell you the truth, it became an impromptu photo walk! There I was, facing the lake, walking upwards & sideways & criss-crossing with my tripod & the camera on top of it! I didn't for once stop to think about 'what people might think'. I didn't for once worry about my work or my friends or their lives. Somehow all the daily drama that I worried about seemed trivial & i was glad for it. That place was for me as I was for it. It had this strong magnetic attraction that left me in awe. I sat for a while taking in the beauty of the place.
Sound of water dancing gracefully..
Colour of the sun painting the sky poetically..
Freeness of the wind musing over & above..
I was truly at peace in this serenity..

If you are in Udaipur, drop your bags & go visit the magical Fateh Sagar lake. I'd surely give it 5/5 stars.
I clicked a lot of amazing photos. Here are a few!





Some Useful info:
Timing for boating: 8 AM to 6 PM
How far away: 10 minutes away from Old City.

I promise to come back soon & tell you guys all about an exciting Day 2 in Udaipur! Do let me know how you liked this one in the comments below!
Until next time,


Sunday, 15 July 2018

Of Loneliness & Independence. (Diary Logs #18)






Hi Readers!! Hope you are having a great weekend! I mean, that World Cup final blew my mind!!
So, here I am, writing about something that's totally opposite of team spirit & often touched upon topic of my writing! 
Why don't you go ahead & read it!?







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Source

She sat in the balcony of her small apartment on a Saturday evening with tea in her hand & a rather plain view from the 2nd floor. She had an array of options before her. She could read a book which she had been attempting to finish for 7 months. She could binge watch some hyped Netflix show & pretend to understand the sci-fi aspects in it. She could browse Pinterest & Instagram only to watch travel photos from Netherlands, photos captioned #FriendshipGoals or another celebrity breakup. She could browse social media & catch up on who's who of people she doesn't really care about. So, where were the people she cared about? Did these people even exist? She might care about a million, but she was sure no one cared about her. Just as sure as she was that there was no truth behind those #FriendshipGoals photos because nothing really lasts, does it? People come, people go. There were more ex-people in her life than now-people. That is the way of life. At any stage, they are never friends; they are contract friends dressed up as classmates, flatmates, cousins or colleagues. Once that phase is done, so is the relationship & so are the "goals". She sat there with her thoughts. She could think about how different it was a few months earlier, or even a few weeks earlier. You get a degree, you get a job, you move out of your parents' home to a new city. You get what you always wanted. She was independent, and yet she was lonely in those hours of a Saturday night even with a lot of options in front of her.

          She thought about the time she could call up her best friend & she would just know that the call would go on for hours. And today was the day when she was so sure that they won't even meet again, let alone have those heartfelt conversations. No matter how strong their friendship goals were, they ended as college ended.
          She thought about all her colleagues at the place she interned before. That was the time when they didn't miss even a single Friday night to go out partying. Now that, she got another job, they still go, without fail. Also, without giving a second thought to invite her. No matter how much fun those Fridays with colleagues were, they ended as her internship ended.
          She thought about the times when she was inseparable from her cousin brothers. Every time she was angry at her parents, she knew she could just go over at her cousin's place & they would make her laugh until she forgot why she was angry. But then, they grew up, got jobs & moved to US. No matter how strong their bond was, it ended as their childhood ended.

She grew up knowing that people are temporary. People come, people go. Maybe that's why she never fought hard to make someone stay in her life. She was one woman standing & she enjoyed the view with no one in sight. At that moment, she had become so strong that nothing would make her cry & nothing would take her guard down. She had to be a warrior, all the time, with no breaks.

Until next time,

Sunday, 10 June 2018

Are You Scared of Being Left Alone with Your Thoughts? (Diary Logs #17)







Hello Readers! Hope you liked the love story I wrote last week. I am in the process of writing another one. But, that one's going to take some time. So, stay tuned for the big one!
This is another diary logs kind of a post inspired by reality of feelings. So, for a change, it's not fiction. Keeping it real. Hope it changes your outlook & makes you think.





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Dear Diary,
          This weekend I went on a trip to Lonavla with my family. My aunt has a family friend who has a bungalow there. No words can describe how amazing & perfect that bungalow is. We were 7 of us there. The place has a lot of things to keep everyone entertained. It has a huge hall with 3 big bedrooms. All the interiors are so well picked out that everything looks fancy while also has a touch of vintage with modern architecture. There's an amazing sit-out place like a balcony. We can see an amazing view from there. It's always cold & to our luck also foggy which creates perfect atmosphere. The basement is converted to a gaming arena with Table Tennis, Carom & board games. There's also a small terrace above from where the view is better than that at any other place in Lonavla.
There's a care-taker who is also the chef so there's nothing that we need to do, but relax. Sounds peaceful, doesn't it? The only thing is that there is barely any cell reception up there. And there's no wi-fi. So, you can do everything & anything which doesn't involve browsing through your mobile or laptop.

In the deadly silence of this beautiful place, if you go alone, what will you do?
How long will you be able to ponder over the wonder of the nature, mountains & the superb weather?
How long will you read or cook or do gardening or photography?
It will all last only until you finally come face to face with yourself with no more escape routes left. What will you do then? Will you be ready to face your fears? Will you be ready to give a thought to your thoughts?

After a certain amount of time, they will keep cropping up. Your mind will ask you why are you living the way you do. Your body will ask you why you treat it the way you do. Your past will crawl to remind you of your regrets & bad choices. Your future will give you nothing but one big question mark. Your anxiety will ask you if it's a good time to strike again. Your hands will go to the phone to check for any messages, but there won't be any. Your heart will ask you if you feel it even exists. You will be left alone with nothing but your thoughts. The question is will you be scared of being left alone with your thoughts? And if the answer is yes, you know that you need to face that fear. 



"Let's toughen up & face our fears.
Let's stop with the many escape mechanisms we use every day, every minute! 
Let's not be afraid of being left alone with our thoughts. 
Instead, let those thoughts come to sort everything out. And also maybe, to inspire!"


Until next time,

Monday, 4 June 2018

The First Date. (Short Story)

Hello Readers! This is the story of a unique first date. I hope at least some of you have experienced & those who haven't, I hope you do too! Let me know what you think!
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Dear Diary,

          I met someone today. I know what you are going to say, "Not this again." But, yes, this again! Meeting someone new, getting to know them better than they know themselves, falling in love with them because of the silliest reasons and then winding up with a heartbreak sooner or later, again because of the silliest reasons and the vicious dating cycle continues. Nevertheless, like every time, I'll say, "I think he's THE ONE." You'll silently roll your eyes at me because this is like the 12th THE ONE. I'll pretend to not notice when deep down even I know what I'm doing is worthless. But, at least I’ve still got this magical feeling called HOPE.

          So, about this guy & about today! I have known him since the past couple of months, but only today did we actually talk. He's the librarian at the usual City Library I visit every week. We used to exchange “hi, reissue or new issue and thanks, bye” to each other every week. But, we got to talking today & it turns out, we have a lot in common. He knows my taste in books & so when he asked me out on a date, he did so by quoting one of the characters from the book I had recently read. I thought that was cute. So, I went ahead and said yes.

          Our first dinner date was at a little place close to the beach which is usually my first date restaurant. We talked & ate & laughed. While the dinner went smoothly with each of us asking the questions which we both probably read off of a Google article ‘What to do and what not to do on the first date.” Anyway, we got to know each other a bit while cautiously avoiding the past, focussing on the present while talking about the future. But, the actual pleasant talks began once we left the restaurant. We started walking on this perfect little street; not too crowded & not too lonely. One side was a lane of bungalows with all these trees with flowers on their garden. These pink flowers hung just so perfectly that they were halfway on the street & halfway on the inside of the Bungalow garden making the lane studded with pink flowers & yellow leaves in a beautiful red carpet fashion. While on the other side of the lane there’s just a wall & across that wall, there is the beach playing the Sound of Waves for us.

          Even after being silent for a while, he didn’t ask me whether I was fine or whether there was anything bothering me. Just by looking at me, he knew that I was happy in that moment.
As we walked close to each other, our hands became the first ones to attract each other like magnets. Our hands knowingly and flirtatiously swished & touched until they finally embraced each other. It was the first time we held hands while walking on nature’s colourful carpet while listening to the waves on the other side. Soon, he decided to end the silence and asked me, “What are you thinking right now?” Without second thoughts, I answered, “It is just magical and purely blissful listening to these waves when I cannot even see them. It’s all just a one-minute action. Waves running to the shore, hitting the shore & then going back to the ocean. Then there’s another one & then another & that just continues like clockwork. What really intrigues me is the moment between the waves. The time when one wave has just reached the shore & the other one is on its way. There’s the anticipation of the new wave settling in and the happiness of the earlier wave right at the surface. I think that peaceful moment in-between is just precious. It’s like I can live in that peace my entire life. It’s like that one-minute moment of peace & solitude could last forever.”
He was the kind of guy who wouldn’t interrupt me when I was saying something with so much dreams in my eyes. I didn’t need to talk quickly in order to finish everything I had to say. I took pauses where required, I stressed on the words that needed to be stressed on. I talked about the magic of waves like I have some magic in myself & everything around me. He listened silently & he imagined everything I said. He didn’t listen to come back with a wittier response. He listened to actually understand me. So, I smiled at him after telling him what was on my mind & asked him what was on his. And somehow, even though I had begun with no expectations, he opened up too.

He said, “I suppose what waves are to you, time is to me. You see how wonderfully & also chaotically time works? We have been walking for about 25 minutes & yet it seems like only 5 minutes have gone by. I suppose when we are with someone we like time goes on quickly as every moment matters. When we are with someone we like, time seems to stop still while actually it goes by faster than otherwise. While we kept talking on the way tonight, we felt time stop while we truly unravelled what was on our minds. Isn’t it lovely, like clockwork too?” We again smiled at each other because we both knew this was something else. No first date ends up with both the people having such conversations about their deepest thoughts & wonders.

          By that time, we reached the beach. There was sand beneath our feet, stars above our heads & magic within us. We stood close facing each other. One wave had settled, the other was on its way & time stopped still. We found our one-minute of peace. Our bodies touching each other, us looking deep into each other’s eyes. With the anticipation closing in, so did the distance between us & we kissed. Our first kiss in that perfect moment of peace & standstill of time when we were magic in the middle of it all. It was a first, but it felt like none of the other firsts I ever had. It was truly magic.

Until next time,

Sunday, 6 May 2018

How My Asocial Ass Enjoyed Company of EIGHT Work People! (Diary Logs #16)








Hello Readers! This is somewhat of a 'Dear Diary' real-life moment. (Not real-fictional, for a change!)
Here we go..







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Dear Diary,
I have almost 90 % of the times regretted putting my personal life on the blog. Because in all those 90 % instances I wrote about people who didn't deserve it & who I don't even talk to anymore. Even so, here I am; opening up. Because, apart from the trust issues or commitment issues, these people feel more real, even when I know little about them than I did about those 90 %. I suppose that's how it works, huh?

So, I went for dinner with some (many) colleagues. It all started because I was frustrated out of my mind during the week (most likely because of work.) And then, I talked to Kunal & Mindy that we really need to meet Vaishali, Pranali & Parul who sit out of a different location. We all worked together earlier, but then got separated due to travelling issues. I instantly pinged Vaishali & the plan was chalked. We lucked out, because instead of just meeting these 3 people, we became a whole group of 10 people! 6 of us, our former boss & 3 guys who used to work with us.

We decided on dinner in Powai. Of course, 2 hours prioir, my anxiety kicked in. I had to go on a ride to dial it down. Then, I felt okay. I went to the place. I met Avinash & Hari first; both as witty & funny as always. Both of whom I hadn't seen in a long time! Then came blonde-haired Rajat, with his 'IDGAF about anyone' charm in place. Soon, Pranali & Parul came. I missed being Parul's one-month desk partner.  Even though we talk on a daily basis, we hadn't met in a month. Usually conversations with Pranali go like-
"So & so question"
"So & so answer."
"Thanks"
"No problem."
I think we do this at least twice a day!
Then came Kunal, who also brought with him his so-called humour. Soon, Vaishali & Priyanka came in, looking amazing as always. I just got this flashback of our long lunch breaks where we used to just go in fits of laughter. I felt so good seeing all of them today! I wish Mindy was also there.

I am not so much of a talker, but that didn't really matter. Everyone talked, shared laughs & had fun. Neither did we like the food, nor the restaurant for its service. It wasn't even in central Hiranandani, Powai. It wasn't an ideal or a perfect meetup, but it was something. While returning home, I didn't feel like Saturday was wasted or I'd have rather stayed home. Instead, I was actually happy.
We were just a bunch of people who work(ed) together, half of us enjoy what we do, half of us probably don't. But, just in those few hours, all of that didn't matter, because we were all just happy. :)

Be happy. Until then,

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